Wed, Sep 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Garbage blighting nation’s coastline

NO GREEN OPTION:Up to 92.6% of the 55.56 tonnes of garbage was unrecyclable waste, including bamboo and driftwood, polystyrene products and fishing gear

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Chang Hui-chun, center, of the Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation and Meng Pei-jie, right, director of National Dong Hwa University’s Institute of Marine Biology, host at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Li-jen, Taipei Times

More than 55 tonnes of garbage were collected from the nation’s coasts from January to June, with most of it being unrecyclable, the Ocean Affairs Council’s Ocean Conservation Administration said yesterday, adding that it would set up a reporting system for oil pollution at sea.

The garbage collected from ocean and beach cleanups over the first six months of this year amounted to 55.56 tonnes, of which 32 tonnes was collected on the coast and the rest from the ocean, the agency said, citing data compiled by local governments.

Up to 92.6 percent of the garbage was unrecyclable, including bamboo, driftwood, polystyrene products, fishing gear and other trash, the agency said, adding that marine waste is an urgent problem, as it involves considerable disposal costs.

Separately yesterday, the Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation released a survey about marine waste at a news conference in Taipei, showing that garbage can be found in 76 percent of the ocean near the nation, and that the coasts of northeastern and northern Taiwan, as well as Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), are the dirtiest.

The survey was conducted by foundation members and other researchers on several voyages from May to July to sample marine waste and water quality around the nation.

During their voyage on June 8, they spotted an unusual track of oil-like bubbles extending about 1km in the waters off the coast of Kaohsiung’s Hongmaogang Village (紅毛港), the foundation said.

Water samples taken contained 0.0123 milligrams per liter of phenol — a chemical that is toxic to marine life — exceeding the standard of 0.005 milligrams per liter in conservation areas, said National Dong Hwa University’s Institute of Marine Biology director Meng Pei-jie (孟培傑), who helped analyze the samples.

The chemical might come from wastewater emitted by ships or factories, but it is not a required item under the Environmental Protection Administration’s regulations governing general seawater monitoring, Ocean Conservation Administration Minister Huang Hsiang-wen (黃向文) told the news conference.

The agency is to collect data about phenol concentrations in seawater near the nation and see if it is necessary to list the chemical as an item for monitoring, she said.

While producers of such marine pollution are hard to capture, the agency would work with the Coast Guard Administration, port management officials and local governments to establish a reporting system for marine pollution, she added.

The agency has started working with National Central University’s Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research to use its satellite images to analyze large-scale marine pollution, Huang said.

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